The other night I finally sat down to watch Gonzo, The Life and Work of Hunter S.Thompson a film directed by Alex Gibney, Thompson a journalist that once said, “Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits — a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage”.
The film begins with him embedded within the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club, 1965, during the days when the club was highly feared. In 1966, Hell’s Angel’s: A Strange and Terrible Saga was released. I think Thompson would have liked the film. Johnny Depp’s poignant narrative driven by his personal relationship with Dr. Thompson brings the viewer into the Gonzo world. The rage Hunter felt at JFK’s assassination, it brought him to coin the phrase “fear and loathing”. His time on the ’72 campaign trail, the crush of the McGovern lose to Nixon. Hunter said ”The trouble with Nixon is that he’s a serious politics junkie. He’s totally hooked and like any other junkie, he’s a bummer to have around, especially as President”.
Then there is Hunter’s quest for the “American Dream” during the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas sequence, it’s comical yet forlorn. The characters Raul Duke and Dr. Gonzo descend on Las Vegas in a drug induced haze, bashing the 1960′s counterculture failures.
The film was a joy to watch but then I am a lover of Thompson’s work. It had me reflect, analyze and evaluate life then and now. Just like his writing did,
If you haven’t read him, I suggest you do, I believe him to be one of the great authors of the twentieth century. I miss him!